06/14/2017 at Canal Park

Sorry for the lack of blog posts. I’ve been super busy. There are a few posts that are coming in a few days.

I really like Canal Park. It’s an outstanding venue for baseball and there’s not a bad thing about it. On this night, I saw the Rubberducks (Indians) take on the Senators (Nationals).

I got to the stadium plenty early and looked through the gates. No batting practice. There was some rain overhead. This meant that there would be no baseballs in the seats to find.

I decided to go down to the Senators dugout to get some autographs. For the first 20 minutes that the gates were open the dugout looked like this.

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Finally, Raudy Read, the Senators Catcher came out and signed an autograph for me. The Senators starting pitcher, Taylor Hill followed him. He was nice and signed for me. Hill liked my Tennessee Titans bag, stating that he was a Titans fan too.

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Read’s signature is on top, Hill’s is on the bottom.

The next Senator to come out was Jose Marmolejos. I got Marmolejos to sign the same ball.

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The last two of the Senators to come out were Osvaldo Abreu and Matthew Crownover. They also were nice enough to sign for me.

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Abreu is on top, Crownover is on the bottom.

When Mario Lisson came back to the dugout, instead of asking him for an autograph, I asked him for the baseball that he had in his hands. He tossed it right to me. photo 1 (8)

The game started right after this. I sat right next to the RubberDucks dugout on the third base side. I got a nice picture of Bobby Bradley from up close. photo 4 (4)

At the end of the top of the 4th inning, Yu Chang had a ball in his glove. I called out his name but didn’t expect the ball. However I did. photo 2 (7)

2 balls at this game

28 balls lifetime

7 balls lifetime at Canal Park

7 Eastern League Balls.

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05/14/2017 at Coolray Field

The last time I blogged about a game at Coolray Field, the Braves were playing the Columbus Clippers. The Clippers were in town again today and I was super excited due to the fact that I love the Braves and the Indians.

I got to the stadium about 40 minutes before first pitch. Right when I entered, I went down to the outfield side of the Clippers dugout (on the first base side) to seek autographs. Literally no autograph seekers were where I was which makes things easier.

A few of the Clippers were in the dugout and they came out soon after I got to the dugout. Jeremy Lucas came out first and I called out to him “Jeremy could you quickly sign an autograph?” Lucas came right over and signed a card I had for him. He was very nice. If only every player in baseball was like that (yes, Dansby Swanson, yes).

Here is the card Lucas signed:

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After that, Bradley Zimmer came out. I’ve wanted to get Zimmer’s autograph ever since the Indians selected him with their first pick in 2014. I asked Zimmer if he could sign and without saying a word, he came out and signed a card for me. I had two cards for him and he only signed one. That’s okay though, one autograph is a thousand times better than zero autographs.

Here is the card Zimmer signed:

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YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!

Nellie Rodriguez was the next to come out. I asked him if he could sign, but he said he had to warm up first. I’ve actually seen Rodriguez use the excuse to avoid signing autographs before, as he said he had to eat at the 2016 Eastern League All-Star game in Akron.

Here are the Clippers warming up and stretching:

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I didn’t get a tossup after they finished throwing, but Rodriguez did stick true to what he said and signed a card for me. Here it is:

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There wasn’t any more action at the dugout, so I headed up to grab a bite to eat on the third base concourse. Bradley Zimmer, the second batter of the game, almost hit me a foul ball, but the ball barely made it to the suite level, making it impossible to retrieve.

My seat for the game was on the lawn. The lawn is in a beautiful part of Coolray Field. The field is right in front of it…

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…and the Views at Coolray are right behind it.

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During the game Lucas Sims was absolutely dominating the Clippers. Sims finished the game with 10 strikeouts and only 1 walk to go along with 2 hits. Meanwhile, the Braves were absolutely destroying Michael Peoples. Peoples gave up 13 hits and 6 runs in 6 innings.

In the fourth inning, Xavier Avery came up to bat for the Braves. Avery has good power, but not great, so I moved in. I didn’t think that Avery would hit it out but I was dead wrong. And guess who he hit it to?

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I didn’t snag anything the rest of the game, but I did have about 50 people congratulating me on my Home Run snag.

But wait, that’s not it. After the game, I headed out to the visitor’s players entrance. Some guys sign there on their way to the bus. Right when I got there, Josh Martin was talking with his girlfriend, mom, sister and friends. Apparently, despite Josh pitching in Ohio, they live in nearby Alabama. My dad ended up talking with them while Josh ended up signing an autograph for me.

Here is a picture of all of the autographs I got at the entrance:

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Louis Head is the signature on the top, Joe Colon’s signature is on the bottom. Colon had a World Baseball Classic bag from when he pitched with Puerto Rico this spring.

And speaking of Head, he was so nice that he signed a card for me as well.

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Ronny Rodriguez came over next. I’d gotten his autograph at the last Braves vs Clippers game I went to, but it was great to get it again.

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I was able to get three more autographs on the way out. Here they are:

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That is Josh Martin at the top, Shawn Armstrong in the middle, and Carlos Frias on the bottom.

Speaking of Frias, here he is signing for a young fan.

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That was the last of the autographs that I got. No one came out of the entrance for a long time, so that was when I knew it was time to get out of the 90 degree weather. I did take a photo on the way out of Coolray Field.

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Coolray is such a nice park. It’s a shame that the Braves are second to last in International League attendance.

Here is the video of the Home Run.

 

1 ball at this game

3 balls this season=1.5 balls/game

1 lifetime game home run

26 MLB/MILB balls

03/20/2017 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports

This day was very fun. I didn’t even go inside Champion Stadium to watch any bp or get any autographs. I instead went to the Minor League fields to watch the Florida Fire Frogs and Rome Braves play the Lakeland Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps.

When I got to the back fields, the Gwinnett Braves and the Mississippi Braves were leaving to go to Lakeland to play the Mudhens and Seawolves. I got a handfull of autographs when they walked out. Here are some photos.

Balbino Fuenmayor:

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Johan Camargo:

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Leudys Baez:

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And Adam Brett Walker II

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The Braves who were on the big league roster but didn’t take bp inside of Champion Stadium were hitting on one of the back fields. There was quite a bit of action on the path behind the wall. There was a foul ball hit by a right-handed hitter on the Braves (maybe Lane Adams?) which I got. Here it is:

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After that, there were a bunch of home runs that not only cleared the fence on the field that the Braves were hitting on, it cleared the fence that the Rome Braves were taking bp.

Shortly after, a ball rolled to the fence. David Freitas was the one to retrieve it. I didn’t even ask for it, but he flipped it over the fence to me. I thanked him and he said “sure thing.” Nice Guy. Here is a picture of the ball:

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The Braves only took about a 1/2 group of bp, so I’d say 2 balls is pretty good.

Shortly after, a guy who was talking with my dad said that David Justice was watching Minor League bp. He exited the field and I rushed over to get his signature. He signed the Freitas tossup. Here is a picture:

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YES! Justice was wearing the ’95 ring on his finger which was amazing. I’ve never seen a non-replica world series ring up close before.

John Hart was driving his golf cart around and it was really cool to get a few feet away from him.

I waited for the Firefrogs and Rome Braves to start their games for a while and I watched an intersquad game that featured Ronald Acuna. Touki Toussiant sat a few rows in front of me as I watched the game. Here is a picture of Acuna:

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That game was much shorter than I thought it would be as it ended after maybe 5 or 6 innings. I then went over to the Firefrogs game where the Frogs were winning by 2 runs. Afernee Seymour hit a foul ball that I was able to get. I offered it back to players standing on the concourse, but they said that I could keep it. Here it is:

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Ball #1 of the Minor League season before the season has even started. I love it.

I then went to watch the Rome Braves play the Whitecaps. Look how close I got to the coaches:

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For some reason, the Rome Braves were being coached by the Danville Braves coaches. But the cool thing was that their manager for 2017, Randy Ingle was sitting feet away from me. Here he is:

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Excuse the bad picture.

Matt Gonzalez, out of Georgia Tech, hit a foul ball that one of the Braves employees went to get. The employee was nice enough to toss the ball to me for #2 of the year. Here it is:

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I’m off to a great start to the season.

The game ended in a tie, and shortly after, we left the complex. Here is a picture I took on the way out:

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I. love. spring. training. And I might see more. There is a chance that I’ll see the Rockies play the Mariners at Talking Stick on April 1st. Otherwise, I’ll most likely be seeing the Gwinnett Braves play the Durham Bulls on April 9th.

4 balls today in total

3 spring training balls

2 minor league balls in 1 game this season=2 balls per game

19 minor league balls

03/19/2017 at Champion Stadium

Let me start off by saying this: Catching baseballs at Champion Stadium is hard. The fans are physical, the berm gets packed and by the end of Batting Practice, there are 200 people going for each ball that leaves the field.

Before I got in the stadium, I went to the back fields at the Wide World of Sports and watched the Braves pitchers walk to a field to walk to a field to do some drills. Here is a picture of R.A. Dickey walking by.

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Shortly after, Braves #14 prospect Joey Wentz signed a baseball for me. Here’s a picture of his signature.

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I then entered the stadium to watch some bp and get autographs. I ended up getting Ian Krol and Kolten Wong’s autographs by the Batting Cages. Here’s a photo:

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I was shut out in Braves bp, mostly because the Braves must have only hit two or three home runs to left field and they were all caught by the more physical fans. Things then got crowded for Cardinals bp, and 200 people crowded onto the berm.

When Tommy Pham was up, I expected him to hit something deep. He sure did. He hit a ball that bounced  off the warning track and up to me.

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You can get pretty close to the players and coaches at Champion Stadium as you can see in this photo:

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I then watched Catcher Eric Fryer warm up:

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I then watched the Cardinals warm up from the berm:

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Here is a photo of Lance Lynn walking out onto the field from the dugout:

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It was a fun day at Champion Stadium and while 1 baseball isn’t a lot, I was just glad to not be shut out.

1 baseball at this game

1 Spring Training baseball

1 baseball at Champion Stadium

9/10/2016 at Coolray Field

This was my first game at Coolray of the season and it was not crowded at all. I got there about 40 minutes before first pitch but right when I got into the stadium, this was the result:

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I found it tucked under a seat in an empty section and I’m sure it was a ball from batting practice.

I then went to get autographs and I got a lot. Here are some.

Todd Hankins

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Michael Choice

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Guillermo Quiroz

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Ronny Rodriguez

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Giovanny Urshela

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and Steve Karsay

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Unfortunately, the Gwinnett Braves Security enforces that 15 minutes before the first pitch, autograph seekers will be cleared from the stands. I really wanted to get Yandy Diaz and Bradley Zimmer’s  autographs but because of that rule I couldn’t. But that’s okay.

When the Clippers were walking off the field, Jesus Aguilar tossed me this:

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I thanked him in Spanish and he saluted me back. Nice guy. I hope he makes the Indians sometime. The game started soon after and on the second pitch of the game, Yandy Diaz ripped a line drive a section over. I sprinted over and grabbed it for ball number 3 on the day. Here it is:

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You can see the mark on the right side where Diaz’s bat hit the ball.

It was the 6th inning and a few Hispanic Men came to sit in front of me. They started telling jokes in Spanish to Braves 1st base coach Jose Mota and Clippers 1st baseman Jesus Aguilar. It made both of them laugh.

This was my view for the game.

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The Braves ended up winning the game 5-4 and the series 3-1. Here was a picture of the celebration.

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3 baseballs at this game

1 Game at Coolray Field this season

3 Consecutive games with at least 1 ball

3 balls=2nd all time at Coolray Field

13 baseballs at Coolray field

8/17/16 at Turner Field

This was my game at Turner Field. The stadium that I had grown up going to was going to be gone. This was my last chance to catch a Commemorative baseball.

Did it happen? Read to find out.

Dansby Swanson was making his debut in this game. And it was fun.

I arrived at the ballpark at 6:30, 40 minutes before first pitch. I was sitting in 108 Aisle 8, next to Minnesota’s dugout.

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Best seat in the house to get a tossup. The bat boy was just feet away.

This was the first at-bat of a future MLB star:

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Swanson lined out to Eddie Rosario, but that did not make Braves fans any less impressed.

Fast Forward to the bottom of the seventh inning. Ender Inciarte struck out on a pitch in the dirt and Juan Centeno applied the tag. Three outs. Centeno ran back to the Twins dugout. He tossed it high. A little over my head. It would likely land over my head, rows back.

I leaned back and made the catch. A lot of people wanted it. And many even hit my glove. But I had it. First game-used MLB ball. Here it is:

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1 ball at this game

18 MLB/MILB baseballs

2 Consecutive games with at least 1 baseball

1 ball at Turner Field

7/15/16 at Canal Park

I went to this game with my grandfather hoping to see Michael Brantley play on his rehab assignment. We got to the stadium 15 minutes before the gates officially opened to non-season ticket/suite holders.

 

Oh, also it was a sellout and the only non-general admission seats there was were Aisle 10, Row S, Seats 1-2. So that was going to be our location for the game

The lines for the gates backed up to the Suite entrance so we got in line. The gates opened and I rushed inside hoping that BP would still be going on. But sadly it wasn’t so I went down in the aisle next to the Erie Tigers dugout with a pen and a ball, seeking autographs.

This was the first game I had been to in years where the teams weren’t signing. But when the Tigers were done warming up and were walking off the field, there was action.

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This man, Jason Krizan, had a ball still in his glove. A few nights earlier, he had won the Eastern League Home Run Derby, and I yelled “Great Job in the Home Run Derby.”

And this was the result:

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Right after Krizan tossed it up, he said “You already have a ball!” I hadn’t snagged that one at that game so I said “It’s for autographs.” He then just laughed and shook his head. That was the last action in this game.

1 ball at this game

17 Lifetime MILB balls

1 Consecutive game with at least 1 ball

1 Minor League game this season